For My Oma – John Tansey 

If the foreknowledge of our own impending death

is not enough to put proper perspective 

upon things, 

then to clear the stern leer of our hatred, 

to forgive the unforgivable

to cut through the flippant diversions

of possesions

and find at the bottom of the bag, 

playing in its emptiness, 

the child, within, that matters most.
My grandmother, old and blind


like zen, in her old age…
still able to keep the world in order 

carefully absorbed with every action

it almost seemed to evolve around her

she would arrange the yarns by notion

and fold the grocery bags

pat them and place them 

into size-ordered spice tins

and the denominations of money

was a mathematical formula which 
was more complex than quantum physics, even… 

Faithless &  Godless – John Tansey 

Hopelessness is insidiousuntil,

 suddenly, like a revolution

Man admits to a Godlessness

and the ensuing schism divides his being; 

There is a rumbling at the border of your life, 

making midnight raids at the countryside.
The first casualties are the extremeties, 

the outer environs of your limbs…
Your possessions, your job and the children you clutch most.
So you close the castle gates, 

hold up in the tower, 
Discard, but your faith, to the hunger of the crowds, 

as advisors whisper over your shoulder
‘Give up your crown, your reign, 

your palace, even abdicate’
And in the strait shape of a white shift, 

without mistress and head shaven
You walk the steps to the Iron Maiden

and are stillborn into the next life! 

Exiled – John Tansey 


from my tribe; 

Outcast, ostracized

For defying the elders.

My spear, broken, 

Sling and skin gourd, taken.

Pelted with stones 

By those pockmarked with sin

Beaten beyond the mountains I have known

Down into the hinterlands, 

And the cold, wintry wild, alone

To be alone, even in death.

Without such security

As the clan and cave, 

I shiver in the cold, 

Get wet in the rain.

No more to be one of them.

I seek shelter on a patch of land, 

Under a thatch of sky

I must fend, now, for myself, 

A lone, lean wolf, scavenging
On the frozen Tundra, alone. 

Evening Comes Like a Delusion – John Tansey 

Evening comes like a delusion

With dimly lit lamps of amber, 

And just enough shadow, For 

Any ghosts you want to step out of.
The day is over, right or wrong.

Nothing more is to be asked of you.

But to dream; The expectations

That things will be better tomorrow.
Only to wake to the bleak, 

Bleary-eyed, onslaught of morning.

And its demand upon you

To walk, from dawn to dusk, 
In lockstep with the ecliptic of the Sun.

Empty Nest – John Tansey

With the boy’s room, draped in white sheets

This whole year, like a cocoon, preserved, in amber, 

She closes another album: The fossil record of their marriage, 

Steeped, in the earthen layers of clay.

Then, turning to face him, two huge land masses: 

He, the old world, she is of the new, 

And with thirty years of continental drift

Having poured an ocean between them, 

They live, now, in different time zones, 

Sleep, eat and speak in different tongues… 

Depression- John Tansey 

Once we lay, limblocked in love, 

woke to reckless sex 

and sweet dreams, brash young 

hearts that joked age would lose this 

race we double-dared it to.
Now you slink from bed.

All future gone from your eyes, 

as you flash this sad

smile, that turns with your thoughts

to too much of our hopes gone past. 

Delusions of Evening – John Tansey

Evening comes. My self-delusion

stirs the synapses

with a steaming cup of coffee.

A dimly lit oil lamp

shrouded with Saffron scarf

casts the room in an amber hue

with subtle shapes in the shadows

while words as gold ingots on the page

forming this poem

with an alchemic blaze.
Morning rises, lighting the gray room 

dispelling truth

from every fold of darkness

to a sterile whiteness

that turning back 

such atomic weight of words

into leaden blocks of stone

I wake, both bleary eyed and blood shot, 

into this failed, pale bleak

truth of morning

Comes A Doubter – John Tansey 


If one you should know

Is felled by a deep grief

Into a black hole of depression, 

And you, armed with clichés, 

Come to console, relieve, 

Before you open your mouth, 

Know this: 

That, in the absence of the right words, 

Silence will suit the situation well.
Like the wearing of basic black

For all formal affairs and funerals, 

It is proper, 

always in style

and goes with any occasion.
Just ask the petitioners of God

Who, all too well, know: 

It is through the long terrible silence

Of unanswered prayers

Made under the duress of the dark, 
That we, too late, learn to survive this life on our own…

Collage – John Tansey

I am a torn photo album of memories,

 Whose pictures, strewn out of order, 

And chronological date

Lay about the floor in a collage.
A serial killer of images.

I lie in a heap, 

Here, among the snapshots of the past, 

Where I exist the best.
Isolated moments of nostalgia

Are made mythic, perfect

Out of the rewritten past..

For what exists of the future is bleak, 

And existence in the present is bestial; 
For proof, look toward the night sky

as God exists, only, in the past

and its evidence is reflected

In the, biblically-old, 

no longer existing, light of the night stars. 

Poem – A Cup of Tea – John Tansey

My brains chemicals 
affords a few moments from my mood 

to rinse out a dirty pot 

pour some cold water 

from a spout 

and turning to the stove, 

light a low flame 

find a tin cup 

two tea bags, honey and some cream 
and I wait… 
Water sizzling around the rim, 

I pull a sleeve over my hand 

lift the hot handle 

warm water pours in the cup 

and dipping the tea bags up and down 

stir them around 

and let it steep 
again, I wait…